Established in 1972, the USC Joint Educational Project (a.k.a. “J-E-P”) is one of the oldest and largest service-learning programs in the United States. Each year 2,000+ USC students enroll in JEP’s service-learning, work-study and volunteer programs. Over the years JEP has been honored with numerous awards and recognitions for its pioneering contributions to the field.
JEP offers a wide range of service and service-learning opportunities in nearby schools, community-based organizations, health-care facilities and legal clinics. JEP partners with USC faculty who offer course credit for participating in JEP; the program offers opportunities for alumni, USC employees and student volunteers, as well.
All of JEP’s programs combine hands-on experience with reflective practice, enabling students to learn first hand about the critical issues facing the communities surrounding USC.
The “Joint” in “Joint Educational Project” refers to our enduring partnerships and collaborations with K-12 schools, non-profit organizations, and health care centers that are dedicated to serving the communities surrounding USC. JEP also partners with USC faculty and staff to offer meaningful service opportunities for students that directly contribute to and benefit our community partners. We are proud of our long-standing relationships, some of which date back to our founding in 1972.
Based in the Dornsife College of Letters Arts and Sciences, JEP is fundamentally an “Educational” organization. We are committed to developing community-based learning activities and curricula that promote student development, encourage personal reflection and require academic rigor. Much of our work in the community is in education, with many USC students serving as teaching assistants, tutors and advocates for children and adult learners.
Finally, we are a “Project,” as opposed to a “program,” indicating the dynamic and multifaceted nature of our organization. We are constantly assessing our work, incorporating feedback from participants and partners to build on and enhance our processes. This means tinkering with core programs every semester to make small improvements, and occasionally adopting sweeping reforms when warranted. We typically have several pilot projects running at any given time, many of which are initiated and implemented by students.
In collaboration with campus and community partners, the Joint Educational Project co-creates service opportunities for USC students that address community-defined needs, complement coursework, and promote personal growth through critical reflection on contemporary social issues.
The following Core Values inspire and guide our work:
- Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging
- Service-Learning and Community Engagement
- Critical Reflection
- Social Justice
We strive to achieve our mission by consistently doing the following in our work:
- Centering diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging, and social justice.
- Establishing sustainable, reciprocal, and respectful partnerships that work to address ever-evolving, community-defined needs.
- Engaging students in ethical, intentional, and impactful experiential learning activities designed to meet educational goals and contribute to the public good.
- Preparing students for skillful service by providing training, supervision, scaffolding, feedback, recognition, and resources.
- Designing challenging yet supportive opportunities for students to critically reflect on their experiences.